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MARILYN HAGERTY: Their whole world, in their hands

They are never alone. UND students have their cellphones, iPhones, iPads -- whatever -- always with them. These students seem to like living in Grand Forks, but they don't like the cold north winds. Some of them say there is a smell of sugar beet...

They are never alone.

UND students have their cellphones, iPhones, iPads -- whatever -- always with them. These students seem to like living in Grand Forks, but they don't like the cold north winds. Some of them say there is a smell of sugar beets. Not too many of them ever write letters. Most of them of them don't bother to read the comics.

I made these discoveries while visiting writing classes of Professor Richard Aregood at UND.

Megan Frank, a UND student, is embarrassed to admit she is on her phone before getting out of bed. "I take it to the bathroom with me. If it was waterproof, I'd take it in the shower."

And Jessica Fushi spends hours on her phone. She says, "I use it to communicate with my friends and family. My phone is with me at all times -- except when I shower."

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Tyler Tandeski figures that from the time he wakes up until he goes to bed, there probably are two or three hours when he does not use his phone.

Ryan Schnorbach is on his phone six hours a day. And even though he isn't always using his phone, Keegan Hilmer feels lost if it isn't in his pocket.

Kent Luetzen finds his phone addicting and distracting. He has friends in group chats that he finds comical. He figures talking with them makes his day better. And he also uses his phone to interact with his family back home. "I miss them sometimes."

Letters and comics

The gentle art of writing notes or letters is not lost on the current generation of University students. But it isn't creating lines of students buying postage stamps.

Stephanie Getsman can't even remember the last time she sent anything in the mail. Maybe it was 15 years ago when she sent something to her grandmother in Aberdeen, S.D.

Morgan Hodgson recalls sending a postcard back home when he was in Germany two years ago.

On the other hand, there are college students such as Amy Jaramillo. She actually wrote and mailed a card the other day for the 20th birthday of a friend.

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"I love sending and receiving 'snail mail,'" she said.

When it comes to discussions of the comics in newspapers, you can pretty much forget it with this group of UND students. Half of them don't read them.

Jaramillo says she read the comics when she was at home. "I really enjoyed 'Garfield' because I love cats and feel like I could relate to this cat who just wants to eat and sleep."

Fushi reads "Calvin and Hobbes" comics because her mom used to cut them out for her.

Keegan Hilmer always looks for Dilbert and Garfield. Max Schroeder finds the comics, or funny papers, outdated and boring.

"I'm a new generation kid. I need music, action, change."

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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